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Niners aftermath, after a headbutt

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2014 – 7:37 pm

Tony Jefferson had himself a game Sunday. The safety lead the Cardinals with 10 tackles, he had the huge second-down sack of Colin Kaepernick on the 49ers’ last true chance to score and, of course, he absorbed the headbutt that changed the game.

Former Cardinal Anquan Boldin, who has been known to let his emotions get away from him on the field, got angry at Jefferson after catching a pass for a first down on the Cardinals’ 6-yard line with the Cards nursing a 20-14 lead. Boldin headbutted Jefferson, and the 15 yards eventually derailed the drive into a field goal attempt that was blocked by Cardinals’ defensive end Tommy Kelly. The 49ers never did score again.

“People give him (Boldin) so much respect out on the field, and I respect him as a player, but anybody who is going to jaw at me, I’m going to jaw back,” Jefferson said. “I’m all about the action. I’ll jaw. But I won’t retaliate like he did.”

But the play was more than that for the Cardinals. Boldin ranted after the game Jefferson had been delivering cheap blows and he was simply fed up. After the game, however, the Cardinals were talking about finally standing up to bully in the 49ers that had knocked them around in recent years.

“I think they are kind of used to us backing down once the game gets started,” Jefferson said. “But we were in their face. We were going after it. We let them know, this is a different team.”

It seems like a different team. It’s definitely an undefeated team, and one that has earned that distinction.

It was a big deal winning Sunday, not the least of which was with Drew Stanton behind center. Bruce Arians kept saying Stanton could get the job done, but he (rightfully) said Stanton had to show everyone else. He has. Stanton managed the game in New York. He won the game against the 49ers. B.A. clearly didn’t pull back the reins.

Stanton had a great press conference. He was happy, as he should be, and knows how to be funny. Someone asked him why he clicks with Arians. Stanton said he wasn’t sure. “To be honest with you, in Indianapolis, I didn’t even know if he liked me,” Stanton said.

I don’t think Drew needs to worry about that anymore.

- -That said, please don’t ask about a quarterback controversy. There isn’t one. When Palmer is ready, he’ll be back in there.

– As good as John “Smokey” Brown –and that’s what the Cards call him, Smoke or Smokey – was on his TD catches, the pass interference he drew on the game-clinching field goal drive was just as big a play. Without that, the Cardinals are punting with more than three minutes left.

“Once I got past five yards, (I knew) if he got hands on me, it was an automatic pass interference,” Brown said. “Drew made a great throw and (cornerback Chris Cook) did what I wanted him to do.”

– Brown said the gameplan all week was to feature him, thinking the 49ers would focus on Fitz and Floyd. Brown was asked, was that because the 49ers don’t really know who you are? Brown smiled. “No one knows me.”

– Stanton became the first Cardinals’ QB to not throw an interception and not be sacked since 2010. So once again, Stanton has a link back to 2010.

– You can’t go sackless, especially with as many deep throws as the Cardinals tried, without very good pass protection. Yes, the Niners are without guys like Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman, but this upgraded line is doing very well (including that parting of the Red Sea to spring Andre Ellington for that last 20-yard gain.)

– The Palmer/Stanton quarterbacked-Cards have yet to throw an interception this season.

– Amazing. On Tommy Kelly’s blocked field goal for the Cards, the Cardinals only had nine men on the field.

– It was with a lot less in-game attention as the Cardinals rallied, but Larry Fitzgerald didn’t get his first catch Sunday until the fourth quarter again. Then it looked like he’d be the key factor in the game-clinching drive – and then he fumbled the ball at the San Francisco 5. It was shades of last year’s lost fumble in San Francisco that short-circuited a possible go-ahead drive. This time, the Cardinals weathered the turnover. I’m not sure Fitz talked to anyone after – I know I didn’t get a chance to see him – but I’m sure he breathed a sigh of relief the turnover turned out not to matter.

– Michael Floyd, two long (39 and 45 yards) catches among his 5-for-114 day. That’s two 100-yard games in three weeks.

– Is there a better defensive coordinator in the league at making halftime adjustments than Todd Bowles?

– I’m not sure how the defense went from being unsure how to handle Colin Kaepernick to shutting him down. This defense just keeps making it work. Losing Antonio Cromartie with a knee injury could have been a blow, but Bowles was already going to use Justin Bethel in this game. That’s foresight. I thought Patrick Peterson played pretty well too. The Cards started getting to Kaepernick with pressure, but the coverage was a big part of that.

So the Cards head into the bye. A short week of practice, needed time off and a 3-0 record. Can’t complain.

TJeffBlog


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Palmer inactive; Rucker to play

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2014 – 11:28 am

Carson Palmer will not be the backup quarterback today. Not surprisingly, he is inactive for a second straight game. Defensive end Frostee Rucker, coming back from a calf injury, is active so that will help on the defensive line. Actually, there are no surprises on the inactive list today really, taking away some of the 90-minute-before-drama that has been there the last first two games. Tight end Rob Housler (hip) will sit today, so Darren Fells gets into his first NFL game. DT Alameda Ta’amu is sitting but since the Cards are trying to hard to generate a pass rush, I’d guess an extra body is favored there over another run stuffer.

The full inactive list:

– Palmer (shoulder)

– P Dave Zastudil (groin)

–LB Victor Butler

– LB Glenn Carson

– LB Alex Okafor (thigh)

– Ta’amu

– Housler (hip)

TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is inactive for the 49ers, as is starting tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring) and No. 2 tight end Vance McDonald (knee). Given the Cards’ issues with tight ends, avoiding both is a big deal.


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Friday before the Niners

Posted by Darren Urban on September 19, 2014 – 4:19 pm

What a week.

What a month, really, or six weeks, whatever the timeframe upon which you want to make the prism to look through. The Cardinals have encountered turbulence for sure, and it just doesn’t seem like that seat belt light is ever gonna go off so they can walk about the cabin. That bye week after this 49ers game looks so inviting, and maybe the football gods do know what’s what when that schedule comes out.

Bruce Arians thought back Friday to his 2010 season with the Steelers, when QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended to start the season and Byron Leftwich broke his leg in preseason and third-stringer Dennis Dixon got hurt and Charlie Batch still got Pittsburgh off to a 3-1 start. The Steelers made the Super Bowl that year (although they lost to Green Bay.) The Cardinals can take that to heart.

The bumps aren’t over yet, either. “It’s only Week 3,” Arians said. “Something’s coming.”

Goodness, after Washington and Minter and Cooper and Dockett and Abraham and Palmer and Dwyer and now Abraham again, let’s hope not.

There just happens to be a pretty important football game Sunday.

– Drew Stanton gets the start (and no, I don’t think Carson Palmer will be healthy enough to be his backup.) It’s a big deal for Stanton. The Giants are, well, the Giants. The 49ers are a different beast, which Arians’ tone hinted toward Friday when he was asked if Stanton should be better this week. Stanton can’t turn the ball over, like he was able to do in New York.

– The fact tight end Vernon Davis, if he plays, will be gimpy at best is huge news for the Cardinals. Davis has done very well against this team. It’s a plus in the Cards’ corner if he’s not 100 percent.

– It’ll be interesting to see how the Cardinals cover the 49ers, and how much Patrick Peterson is on Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has had the upper hand thus far in the matchup, but I just have a gut feeling Peterson is going to have a good game.

– Peterson was not fined for his contact with an official in New York. Giants linebacker Jameel McClain was fined $8,268 for his hit on Stanton after the whistle had been blown for a Cardinals’ delay of game penalty.

– Many have complained about punter Drew Butler on his two blocked punts, even though Arians has reiterated they were on blockers Deone Bucannon and Robert Hughes. Now that Butler is back again with Dave Zastudil hurting, Arians said today Butler has a “real quick two-step release.” Again, noted it was the protection failures that went into the punt blocks.

– Logan Thomas did his best Colin Kaepernick impression this week for the scout team. “He’s not Kap, but he’s close with athletic ability and arm strength,” Arians said. The Cards hope so. Containing Kaepernick will go a long way in determining if the Cards can win.

– With Andre Ellington set to see cousin Bruce Ellington – a Niners receiver – Sunday, here’s a link to Kyle Odegard’s story on the two, from around the combine.

– Newcomer Jalen Parmele “probably” will slide into Jonathan Dwyer’s role as the short-yardage and goal-line back, Arians said. Stepfan Taylor isn’t that guy. Parmele is bigger than Taylor, but with Ellington’s talent, you have to wonder how much more Taylor will ever do here, or if he just will stay in the packages that they use him in now.

– Ellington is probable. The foot has definitely gotten better. And they will need him to play well. You figure the passing game will likely have a ceiling with the backup QB in the game.

– The Cardinals have been spectacular in a pair of rallies, outscoring opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter. The 49ers have gotten out to fast starts and fizzled down the stretch, and last week’s second half cost them a win. The Cards need to start a little faster, or at least slow San Francisco. Last year’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium was a game in which the Cards had to rally, before losing late.

– Here’s hoping the Cardinals’ fans show up in force and, as Arians has said, kept their tickets. The Cards will need that home-field advantage Sunday and it’d be a shame if too many tickets were in the hands of Niner fans.

– If you are going to the stadium, don’t forget the Cardinals will be wearing black.

On to the game.

PPCrabblogUSE


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Stanton to start against 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 19, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Bruce Arians made it simple Friday, announcing that Drew Stanton will start at quarterback for the Cardinals Sunday. Carson Palmer still is not throwing passes, and even if he for some reason were ready to play Sunday at this point, he would be active as the backup quarterback with Logan Thomas inactive. Regardless, Stanton will start.

“We’ll put that to bed right now,” Arians said.

It’s not a surprise. Palmer’s right shoulder is getting better, Arians said, but if he can’t even throw — never mind if he has any power behind it — he can’t do the job. Arians said Stanton should be better than last week, but also acknowledged the 49ers have one of the best defenses. This isn’t an ideal situation for the Cardinals, but it is where they are at the moment.

– Arians said doctors told John Abraham after he failed another concussion test Thursday that he needed to sit out at least a year, which led to the IR move. It certainly looks like Abraham’s career is over, and that’s probably a good thing.

– Newcomer Jalen Parmele, not Stepfan Taylor, will take over Jonathan Dwyer’s short-yardage/goal-line back responsibilities.

– Dave Zastudil (groin) is indeed out, so Drew Butler will be punter Sunday. LB Alex Okafor (thigh) won’t play again either.

– Defensive end Frostee Rucker (calf) did do some things in practice and Arians said he could play Sunday. Rucker will be a game-day decision.

Stantonstartbloguse


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Dwyer moved to reserve list, re-sign Parmele

Posted by Darren Urban on September 18, 2014 – 11:36 am

The Cardinals have moved running back Jonathan Dwyer, arrested Wednesday in a domestic violence case, to the reserve/non-football illness list, and brought back running back Jalen Parmele to the active roster to get the team back to four backs going into the San Francisco game. The reserve list Dwyer is on means the Cardinals have the option not to pay him but the Cardinals will still do so.

In addition, the Cardinals have cut running back Chris Rainey from the practice squad and signed former Colts running back Kerwynn Williams to fill that spot.

Parmele (pictured below) looked OK in the preseason and received praise from coach Bruce Arians, and he is a bigger back that plays in the mold of Dwyer. What will be interesting now is whether Stepfan Taylor can take up Dwyer’s role on the field or if the Cards decide to try and use Parmele in some short-yardage situations.

ParmBlog

 


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Jonathan Dwyer deactivated after arrest

Posted by Darren Urban on September 17, 2014 – 4:58 pm

Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault for incidents that took place in July and the Cardinals have deactivated him from all team activities.

The full statement from the team:

“We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities.

“We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available.”

Given the climate in the NFL right now, the arrest — stemming from an incident with Dwyer, a woman and an 18-month child — didn’t take long to make national news. Dwyer was in the locker room prior to practice, so the arrest happened after that. According to azcentral.com, police took an incident report last week and have been gathering information. Police said Dwyer was accused of aggravated assault “over a fracture” as well as an allegation of assault involving a minor and preventing the use of a phone during an emergency in two separate incidents on back to back days this summer.

Dwyerarrestblog


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New drug policy doesn’t impact Washington

Posted by Darren Urban on September 17, 2014 – 9:43 am

The NFL and NFL Players Association jointly announced their new drug policy today, which changes acceptable levels of certain drugs and other issues. There have been a lot of questions — a lot — about Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington and his current one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The new policy does not change Washington’s situation. I know that mystifies some, but a) the new policy was not going to change the situation for many guys under suspension and b) you (and I, for that matter) don’t know all the details of Washington’s trouble and how he ended up with a year-long ban. Bottom line, nothing has changed for him.

Further, whenever (and if) Washington is reinstated — because the current suspension is for at least a year — he still faces NFL discipline for his assault charge for which he pleaded guilty. You’d think Washington is far from returning to the football field, if he ever does.

The full text of the joint NFL-NFLPA release about the new drug policy:

The NFL and NFL Players Association have reached agreement on wide-ranging improvements to their policy on performance enhancing substances that include the use of third-party arbitration appeals of positive tests and implementation of testing for human growth hormone within the next few weeks.

The NFL and NFLPA are nearing an agreement on changes to the substance abuse policy that is expected to be announced when it is completed.

Key revisions to the program on performance enhancing substances are:

  • HGH testing will be fully implemented this season.  Information on testing procedures will be sent to clubs and players within the week, and testing should begin by the end of this month.
  • Appeals of positive tests in the performance enhancing drug programs (including HGH) will be heard by third-party arbitrators jointly selected and retained by the NFL and NFLPA.  Appeals will be processed more expeditiously under improved rules and procedures.
  • Discipline of players for certain violations in the 2014 league year will be adjusted to reflect the new policy. Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos, Orlando Scandrick of the Dallas Cowboys and Stedman Bailey of the St. Louis Rams will be eligible to return to their teams this week.
  • Discipline for violations of the performance enhancing drug policy (including for HGH) will be modified. 
  • A first violation will result in a suspension without pay of up to six games depending on the nature of the violation. Use of a diuretic or masking agent will result in a suspension without pay of two games. Use of a steroid, stimulant, HGH or other banned substance will result in a suspension without pay of four games. Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test will result in a suspension without pay of six games.
  • A second violation of the steroid policy will result in a suspension without pay of 10 games.  A third violation will result in banishment for a minimum of two years. 
  • Players who test positive for banned stimulants in the off-season will no longer be suspended.  Instead, the player will be referred to the substance abuse program.  Players who test positive for banned stimulants during the season will continue to be suspended without pay for four games.
  • In cases involving discipline for violations other than positive tests (for example, a violation of law), the Commissioner will retain his current disciplinary authority.  A player will have a right of appeal based on due process issues or a claim of disparate punishment.  This appeal will be heard by a member of the existing CBA Appeals Panel.

Previously, the Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified in 2011 utilized the policies in place under the 2006 CBA.

DWashbloguse

 


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Abraham didn’t pass concussion test Tuesday

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2014 – 6:10 pm

On his weekly segment on Sirius XM NFL radio, coach Bruce Arians said linebacker John Abraham did not pass his concussion protocol test Tuesday. Until he does, of course, he cannot play. Arians said he will try again Wednesday, but there is a real possibility Abraham will not be back until after the bye. That’s assuming that he will at some point pass the test at all. Regardless, Abraham will go back on to the 53-man roster — you only get a roster exemption for so long — and the Cardinals will continue to mix-and-match the linebackers to make it work. Arians said he has no doubt that Abraham wants to play, if he gets back on the field.

“He’s excited (to play),” Arians said. “When you get that first concussion, and he  had a big one, it shakes you up sometimes. I think the rest and sitting back this weekend at home, he missed it a lot. He’s more than ready to roll for down the stretch.”

Arians also reiterated that the Cardinals are in a day to day situation with quarterback Carson Palmer, and there is no way to know when he’ll return. Arians said Palmer can cock his arm to throw, but then it just won’t come forward. Palmer is getting constant treatment, Arians said, and the hope is still he can play this week. “Could be a day, could be a month,” Arians said.


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Butler for Butler, and Abraham room

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2014 – 3:22 pm

The Cardinals made a couple of roster moves Tuesday, adjusting the lineup for injury and other reasons. The Cardinals released linebacker Marcus Benard and also cut punter Drew Butler. Butler’s release means Dave Zastudil should be healthy enough to punt this week against the 49ers. The Cardinals also signed outside linebacker Victor Butler, a 2009 fourth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

Victor Butler has 11 sacks in his career. He was with the Saints in 2013 but tore his ACL in a training camp practice. His addition could aid the pass rush — the Cardinals are going to continue to throw possibilities at the pass rush to see if something clicks — and of course, makes sure the Cardinals still have a Butler on the roster.

Another thing that can help the pass rush is the return of John Abraham, and with Tuesday’s 2-for-1 swap, the Cardinals still have an open roster spot for when Abraham is officially reinstated to the team.

Nick Foles (9), Victor Butler (57)


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Cardinals go black for Niners game

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2014 – 12:05 pm

The Cardinals will be wearing their black alternate uniforms Sunday against the 49ers. I’m not sure how many times they are going to use them — the rule was that the alternate unis couldn’t be used once games started being flexed, and the flex schedule starts early this season, as soon as the Cardinals come off their bye. It will be interesting to see the color scheme at University of Phoenix Stadium. The 49ers, who had a ton of fans in Dallas for the regular-season opener, are trying hard to do the same in Arizona this coming weekend. Cardinals fans will be under the microscope to make sure the game has a home-field advantage for the actual home team.

(Although it’s funny — by all accounts, new Levi’s Stadium where the 49ers now play, was not very loud in Sunday night’s 49ers-Bears game and the twitterverse seems to believe it never really will be given the cost of tickets and the demographic of who is going to games — fewer die-hards and more there just for the event.)

BlackBloguse


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